Hayne returns to torment Titans
MALIGNED superstar Jarryd Hayne returned to haunt his former Titans club, starring in the Eels' 28-12 victory which plunged the Gold Coast into the wooden-spoon danger zone.
The former Origin ace gave the Gold Coast enough headaches during his turbulent 23-game stint and some Titans figures privately cheered when the Hayne Plane flew out of the glitter strip last November.
But Hayne subjected the Titans to a fresh migraine at ANZ Stadium, resembling the Dally M magician of old as he toyed with a Titans side that was defensively brittle.
FIVE THINGS: 'One of the most overpaid players in the NRL'
Facing the Titans for the first time since quitting the club, Hayne roamed with intent. He crossed on the left edge in the 28th minute before releasing Bevan French on the right two minutes later to leave Gold Coast floundering 22-8 at half-time.
Stung into action, the Titans dominated the second stanza, but they blew a number of promising chances.
To rub salt into the wounds, Eels pivot Corey Norman - unwanted by the Titans as a recruit for next season - scored the 76th-minute solo try which buried the Coast.
Now the Titans are in a worrying final-month fight to avoid the dreaded spoon.
A Titans victory would have pushed them eight competition points clear of the embattled Eels, but the Parramatta upset leaves the Coast just two wins ahead.
By rights, the Titans don't deserve a second wooden-spoon in seven years, but until they address their poor defensive reads, the Coast will be cellar dwellers.
Eels prop Tim Mannah's opening try in the seventh-minute was soft and when the hosts posted three tries in nine minutes late in the first half, the Titans were in trouble at 22-8.
Titans coach Garth Brennan should give halfback Ashley Taylor a rocket. He is the club's most important player but Taylor's option-taking is erratic and his missed tackle for Mannah's try underscored his defensive issues.
One shining light for the Titans was winger Anthony Don. Buoyed by his new two-year deal, Don crossed for a double, with his 56th-minute intercept giving the Titans hope at 22-12.
With 10 minutes to play, Titans hooker Mitch Rein sliced through and passed to a trybound AJ Brimson. The rookie five-eighth sensationally grassed it. That summed up the Titans' season.
Full-time PARRAMATTA 28 (B French J Hayne G Jennings T Mannah C Norman tries M Moses 4 goals) bt GOLD COAST 12 (A Don 2 P Sami tries) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Chris Sutton, Tim Roby. Crowd: 6,158.